Annual Conference 2017: Religion and Educational Media

Newsletter of the Reading Primers Special Interest

New Publications

Report from the Annual Conference 2016: Heterogeneity and Educational Media


Religion and Educational Media

Annual Conference of the International Society for Historical and Systematic Research on Textbooks and Educational Media e.V., October 6 – 8, 2017, in Augsburg

In the year of the Fifth Centenary of the Protestant Reformation, the Annual Conference of the International Society for Historical and Systematic Research on Textbooks and Educational Media (IGSBi) will address the important and often neglected topic “Religion and Educational Media”.

At all times and in all cultures, religion appears to be a major human practice. This has been reflected, among other things, in syllabuses and curricula and has brought forth a multitude of corresponding educational media (e.g., catechisms, textbooks, classroom pictures and posters, instructional films, and internet platforms). In addition, religious topics have also always been present in educational media, which have not genuinely been intended for religious education. Furthermore, (controversies regarding) Religion(s), their (allegedly) correct interpretation, and their influence have encroached on educational media, and they have influenced their production and distribution as well.

Hence, the contributions at the conference will deal with the following topics:

A panel, which is organized by the Special Interest Group Reading Primers, will deal with the topic "Learning to Read with Catechetical Texts - Historical Approaches", both in lectures and in a roundtable discussion.

The conference will take place in Augsburg, Germany. The conference venue will be the Convention Center of the Diakonie Augsburg “Hotel am Alten Park”, Frölichstraße 17, 86150 Augsburg.

Registration deadline: September 15, 2017

Preliminary Program, Application Form


Just published:

RPI_13 1Newsletter No. 13 of the Special Interest Group Reading Primers (SIG RP) with many interesting articles and news related to research on reading primers.




New Publications

Eva Matthes / Sylvia Schütze (Hrsg.): Schulbücher auf dem Prüfstand / Textbooks under Scrutiny (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2016)

SchulbuecheraufdemPruefstand If one assumes that textbooks or educational media in general are the central steering instrument of teaching, besides curricula and even more directly than these, i.e., that they play a decisive role both for the contents and for the methods of teaching, then it is obviously necessary to put them under scrutiny. But: Who puts textbooks under scrutiny? Who has the right to do so? And which are the criteria for admission?

One focus of this volume lies on state approval procedures. These differ considerably, not least depending on the respective political systems, their intentions, and their character.

A further focus lies on the attempts of various societal groups to delegitimize textbooks, for example for ideological, political, religious or economic reasons, or to push their own textbooks (and increasingly also: online teaching materials) with specific contents, which are directed against other ones.

And finally the volume includes relevant articles which examine from a (education) scientific perspective to what extent textbooks come up to the topical educational political and didactic trends, for example the implementation of educational standards and competence models.

The volume comprises contributions regarding approval and (de)legitimization procedures in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Serbia, the Czech Republic, and the United States of America.

Link to the table of contents and to the German introduction


Eva Matthes / Sylvia Schütze (Eds.): „1989“ und Bildungsmedien / “1989” and Educational Media (Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2016)

1989undBildungsmedien The authors of this volume deal with the consequences, which “1989” – understood as cipher for the fundamental political and societal changes in Middle and Eastern Europe around 1989, often described as “turn-around” [Wende], more appropriately as “Peaceful Revolution” [Friedliche Revolution] – had for educational media.

Some of the articles give attention to the altered conditions of media production and the societal challenges for authors and publishers of educational media in former Socialist countries.

Others examine changes with regard to content in educational media for various subjects, due to the political and societal changes in the relevant countries, including the former GDR. These concerned for example the subjects English, Chemistry, Biology, History, Local Studies, and Geography.

Besides these contributions from Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and the Czech Republic, several articles deal with the depiction of the reunified Germany and the changing Europe in textbooks in countries, which were not directly affected by the revolution – in England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland.

Link to the table of contents and to the German introduction


Report from the Annual Conference 2016: Heterogeneity and Educational Media

This year’s Annual Conference of the Society took place from September 30 to October 2 in the parish house of the Uranienborg Church in Oslo. The organist of the host church, church music professor Inger-Lise Ulsrud, enriched the program with an outstanding organ concert at the first evening of the conference.

For three days, about 40 participants from nine countries discussed the topic “Heterogeneity and Educational Media” under various aspects.


In the introductory section, heterogeneity was described from the perspective of publishers and authors as an enormous challenge; they pointed to different concepts and solution approaches.

The first two thematic blocks dealt with internal differentiation in heterogeneous learning groups. In the first block, lecturers from Switzerland, Italy, and Germany discussed medial perspectives for internal differentiation. They outlined multi-medial and multi-modal approaches, as well as the concept of augmented reality, and adaptive textbooks; they presented also research on usage behavior. Results and approaches with regard to internal differentiation in various subjects and learning environments stood in the focus of the second thematic block; it dealt with educational media for learning German, Geography, Biology, and Mathematics, but also at an extracurricular place of learning – always with reference to a heterogeneous group of students.


Two next two thematic blocks pursued the depiction of heterogeneity in educational media – both from a historical and a topical perspective. The contributors from Poland, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Hungary, and Germany considered the depiction of gender, and of different ethnic groups, religions, and sexual orientations.

Oslo5The last thematic block dealt with language heterogeneity, i.e., with the teaching of languages in a multilingual environment. The contributors from Serbia, Russia, Italy, and Germany examined historical and topical educational media for multilingual learning groups and presented own approaches – to meet one of the challenges in a globalized world, which had been sketched in the introductory part.

Link to the program

The contributions will be published in 2017.

The next conference will take place from October 6 to 8, 2017, in Augsburg. Topic: "Religion and Educational Media".